6 dead after destructive tornadoes hit Alabama

A five-year-old boy was also killed in Georgia when a tree struck the car he was traveling in.

At least six people are dead in Alabama after tornadoes struck the state Thursday, destroying homes and causing what Selma’s mayor called “significant damage.” A five-year-old boy was also killed in Georgia when a tree struck the car he was traveling in.

The Alabama deathwere in Autauga County, northwest of Montgomery, county Emergency Management Agency Director Ernie Baggett said.

He said a tornado struck the communities of Old Kingston and Marbury, with a suspected path of around 20 miles.

Source: 6 dead after destructive tornadoes hit Alabama

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan Issues Update To Travelers

southwest-airlines-extends-flight-schedule-through-march-8-2023

Bob Jordan:

I want everyone who is dealing with the problems we’ve been facing, whether you haven’t been able to get to where you need to go or you’re one of our heroic Employees caught up in a massive effort to stabilize the airline, to know is that we’re doing everything we can to return to a normal operation.

And please also hear that I’m truly sorry.

Here’s why this giant puzzle is taking us several days to solve. Southwest is the largest carrier in the country, not only because of our value and our values, but because we build our flight schedule around communities, not hubs. So, we’re the largest airline in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the U.S.

Cities where large numbers of scheduled flights simultaneously froze as record bitter cold brought challenges for all airlines.

Our network is highly complex and the operation of the airline counts on all the pieces, especially aircraft and crews remaining in motion to where they’re planned to go. With our large fleet of airplanes and flight crews out of position in dozens of locations. And after days of trying to operate as much of our full schedule across the busy holiday weekend, we reached a decision point to significantly reduce our flying to catch up.

We’re focused on safely getting all of the pieces back into position to end this rolling struggle. You know, I have nothing but pride and respect for the efforts of the people of Southwest who are showing up in every way. The tools we use to recover from disruption serve us well, 99 percent of the time; but clearly, we need to double down on our already existing plans to upgrade systems for these extreme circumstances so that we never again face what’s happening right now.

I’m apologizing to them daily and they’ll be hearing more about our specific plans to ensure the challenges that they’ve faced the past few days will not be part of our future.

I reached out to Secretary Buttigieg earlier today to continue the discussions we’ve been having with the DOT through the holiday – sharing all the things that we’re doing to make things right for our Customers.

We always take care of our Customers. And we will lean in and go above and beyond as they would expect us to. Teams are working on all of that: processing refunds, proactively reaching out and taking care of Customers who are dealing with costly detours and reroutes, as just a few examples. Our plan for the next few days is to fly a reduced schedule and reposition our people and planes, and we’re making headway and we’re optimistic to be back on track before next week.

We have some real work to do in making this right. For now, I want you to know that we’re committed to that.

Source: Video: Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan Issues Update

Winter storm leaves at least 37 dead nationwide as residents in western New York remain trapped under feet of snow | CNN

As a massive winter storm continues to blast much of the US with brutal winter weather — leading to at least 37 deaths nationwide — parts of western New York have been buried by up to 43 inches of snow, leaving vehicles stuck and power out for thousands during the Christmas weekend.

Source: Winter storm leaves at least 37 dead nationwide as residents in western New York remain trapped under feet of snow | CNN

Mike Lee, Title 42 drama holds up omnibus passage

An effort led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to maintain Title 42 is threatening efforts to pass a sweeping government funding bill before a shutdown deadline later this week.

Congressional negotiators on both sides say the biggest holdup is ongoing negotiations to decide what the voting threshold would be to pass the amendment.

Source: Mike Lee, Title 42 drama holds up omnibus passage

2022 midterm elections: Balance of power at stake

The 2022 midterm elections are shaping up to be some of the most consequential in the nation’s history, with control of Congress at stake.

All 435 seats in the House and 35 of 100 seats in the Senate are on the ballot, as well as several influential gubernatorial elections in battleground states like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Democrats are defending their narrow majorities in both chambers. Republican control of either the House or Senate would be enough to curtail most of President Joe Biden’s agenda, and would likely result in investigations against his administration and even his family.

Source: 2022 midterm elections live updates: Balance of power at stake

Asteroid’s path altered in NASA’s first test of planetary defense system

The spacecraft NASA deliberately crashed into an asteroid last month succeeded in nudging the rocky moonlet from its natural path into a faster orbit, marking the first time humanity has altered the motion of a celestial body, the U.S. space agency announced on Tuesday.

Source: Asteroid’s path altered in NASA’s first test of planetary defense system

It’s National Coming Out Day. Here’s what that means to LGBTQ+ people

Locals share their coming out stories for National Coming Out Day.

The first National Coming Out Day was in 1988, celebrating the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Advocates Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary first proposed the idea of National Coming Out Day. It was their belief that illustrating to most people that they already knew and respected someone in the LGBTQ+ community helped push the human rights movement forward.

The experience of coming out is personal and unique to each individual. We asked a handful people to share their experiences of coming out — the good and the bad — and why this day is important. Here are their stories.

 

‘It wasn’t my choice, but I’m glad it happened’

Claudia.jpg
Claudia
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My coming out story happened when I was a teenager. I was scared to come out because I didn’t know how my parents would take it. We can kind of say my coming out wasn’t really planned, it hurt and it wasn’t my choice but I’m glad it happened. I’m 24 years old and ever since the day I came out, I made it my duty to be fully out and proud about it. I am very blessed to have never dealt with any rejection from my loved ones due to the fact that I’m a lesbian, and even though it was hard for my parents to accept, my mom has always defended me and my family has always loved me the way that I am. Coming from a religious household made me have the whole “Catholic guilt” mentality and I tried “praying the gay away” thing, which I find pretty funny, considering the fact that I’m a lesbian atheist that practices witchcraft now. My friends are all gay so everyone was very supportive (yet not surprised, the closet was made out of glass) and I’ve been very blessed! I started college and I became the president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, I started working with my community to build a better future for LGBTQ+ individuals and I’ve met many wonderful people throughout the years. I hope to inspire many young members of the LGBTQ+ community to live life loud and proud, and if you can’t do that just now, know that there is a community out there that will love and accept you for who you are, even in moments where you can only be yourself behind closed doors. Happy coming out day from your local they/them lesbian!

— Claudia, Fort Walton Beach

Source: It’s National Coming Out Day. Here’s what that means to LGBTQ+ people

Hurricane Ian landfall approaches as storm nearing Category 5 

Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall in Florida in the next few hours, with wind speeds of up to 155mph meaning the storm is nearing the most dangerous Category 5 status.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ian was expected to cause “life-threatening” storm surges, catastrophic winds and flooding on Florida’s southwest coast.

Source: Hurricane Ian landfall approaches as storm nearing Category 5 – live

Biden and Putin will talk Saturday as US warns Americans to leave Ukraine in 48 hours over fears of Russian attack – CNNPolitics

(CNN)President Joe Biden plans to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, a person familiar with the matter said, as the US warns Russia could attack Ukraine using bombs and missiles at any moment.

The high-stakes talks come at what US officials describe as a critical juncture in the ongoing crisis. A significant increase of Russian ground forces and military assets have surrounded Ukraine, and Putin could decide at any moment to activate them into a deadly invasion.
He hasn’t decided whether to act, the White House said Friday. But that has not stopped American officials from dramatically increasing their warnings an attack is now a “distinct possibility” and could occur swiftly.

Source: Biden and Putin will talk Saturday as US warns Americans to leave Ukraine in 48 hours over fears of Russian attack – CNNPolitics

Pittsburgh Weather: A Winter Storm System Continues To Develop. Here’s What We Know

By now, you probably have heard about the winter storm system that is eyeing the east Sunday into Monday.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — By now, you probably have heard about the winter storm system that is eyeing the east Sunday into Monday.

WEATHER LINKS:
Current Conditions | School Delays & Closings | Local Radar | Weather App | Photos

READ MORE:Pittsburgh Weather: Cloudy Skies, Warmer Temperatures, And Light Rain On Thursday

 

Photo Credit: KDKA Weather Center

An important thing to remember is that the main energy of this system is still out in the Pacific Ocean.

When the energy is out that far, there are things we can see, but there are many that we can’t. Once this “low” comes on the shore, we will have the opportunity to gather a lot more data from weather balloons and surface instruments.

This will allow us to tighten up the projected path and have a better idea of how this will impact the Pittsburgh area.

Source: Pittsburgh Weather: A Winter Storm System Continues To Develop. Here’s What We Know

Kentucky tornadoes: Death toll could reach 100, governor says

Gov. Andy Beshear said dozens, maybe up to 100, were killed in western Kentucky after a long and significant tornado ripped through the area overnight.

“This is going to be some of the worst tornado damage that we’ve seen in a long time,” Beshear said early Saturday. “This is likely to be the most severe tornado outbreak in our state’s history.”

The city of Mayfield, Kentucky was hit particularly hard, including a candle manufacturing factory that was operating at the time the twister hit. There were 110 people in the building at the time that it was nearly collapsed by the tornado. Dozens are expected to be lost from there, Beshear said.

Source: Kentucky tornadoes: Death toll could reach 100, governor says

U.S., other nations to release oil from reserves to lower gas prices

The U.S. will release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to combat climbing gas prices.

  • The U.S. will release 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the White House said Tuesday.
  • The move is a coordinated effort between energy-consuming nations including China and Japan to combat the rapid rise in energy prices.
  • Prior to Tuesday’s announcement the Biden administration repeatedly said that it was looking at the tools at its disposal as prices at the pump hover around a seven-year high.

Source: U.S., other nations to release oil from reserves to lower gas prices

Astroworld Festival disaster: 9-year-old Ezra Blount is 10th concertgoer to die as a result of Travis Scott concert – ABC13 Houston

REST IN PEACE 🙏 Among the victims is a 9-year-old boy who had been on a ventilator after he fell and was trampled during the Travis Scott concert.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — As an investigation continues into the Astroworld Festival tragedy, the death toll is now up to 10 people.

The latest death is 9-year-old Ezra Blount, who fell and was trampled during Travis Scott’s performance.

Source: Astroworld Festival disaster: 9-year-old Ezra Blount is 10th concertgoer to die as a result of Travis Scott concert – ABC13 Houston

BLM leader Hawk Newsome threatens ‘riots’ after sit-down with Eric Adams

A Black Lives Matter leader vowed there’ll be “riots,” “fire” and “bloodshed” if Mayor-elect Eric Adams follows through with his promise to bring back plainclothes anti-crime cops to battle New York’s surge in violent crimes.

New York BLM co-founder Hawk Newsome debated the plan for a return to tougher policing with Adams during a contentious sit-down at Brooklyn Borough Hall Wednesday that was livestreamed on Instagram.

Although Adams found common ground with the activists on plans to fight poverty in the black community, the former NYPD captain said he’ll be reinstating a revamped version of the undercover anti-crime unit that was disbanded at the height of widespread police protests last year.

“If they think they are going back to the old ways of policing then we’re going to take to the streets again,” New York BLM co-founder Hawk Newsome said outside Borough Hall after the meeting.

Source: BLM leader Hawk Newsome threatens ‘riots’ after sit-down with Eric Adams

Golden Gate Bridge anti-COVID vax rally injures five, including two cops

A car struck two cops and three Golden Gate Bridge workers as authorities tried to corral an anti-COVID vaccine protest at the famous San Francisco span Thursday evening.

Several hundred demonstrators were rallying against the city’s employment vaccine mandate at the mouth of the bridge when the victims were struck by a car in the traffic lane, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

The two CHP officers and one bridge worker were taken to a hospital, where they were expected to survive their injuries, the newspaper reported.

“They were gathered at the sidewalk entrance onto the Golden Gate Bridge, and apparently there were individuals in the crowd that had stated their intent was to take over the lane of traffic, so our intention at that point was to serve as a deterrent to try to prevent anybody from getting on,” CHP Officer Andrew Barclay reportedly said.

Source: Golden Gate Bridge anti-COVID vax rally injures five, including two cops

Moms for Liberty is dedicated to  educating and empowering parents to defend their parental rights  – momsforliberty.org

Moms for Liberty, a parental rights advocacy group focused on education, is grabbing national headlines as it rapidly expands throughout the U.S.

The Washington Post dedicated 2,000 words to the group in a piece which likened them to the Tea Party and the “moral majority” movement of the 1980s.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of schools drove education to the forefront of political debates in 2020. Ongoing controversy surrounding vaccines and mask mandates, racial and sexual materials in school curriculum and transgender student policies has prompted concerned parents to organize and get involved in local and state politics.

“Parents are finding racially divisive, sexually explicit, and anti-American assignments in their children’s backpacks. Moms for Liberty chapters work to resolve concerns, review curriculum and request changes in their school districts,” Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty and former school board member, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Moms for Liberty, founded in January, has quickly grown to 140 chapters in 32 states with 56,000 members, according to Descovich.

Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Florida Republican Party, told the DCNF that school board fights have awakened an entirely new demographic of voters, and Moms for Liberty is engaging them. Whether Democrat, Republican or Independent, parents are realizing that the government has tremendous power over their lives and that they need to be involved, he explained.

“They’re being painted as extremists because they pose a threat to the status quo,” Ziegler said. “Moms for Liberty is getting parents involved in their children’s education, and that should be applauded.”

Source: https://www.momsforliberty.org/

Federal court blocks Biden administration’s vaccination mandate – POLITICO

A federal court in Louisiana has blocked the Biden administration’s mandate that millions of workers get vaccinated against Covid-19 or be tested weekly, ruling in a suit filed by several states, companies and conservative religious groups.

“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court,” a panel of judges for the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Saturday.

The states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah are among the plaintiffs.

Source: Federal court blocks Biden administration’s vaccination mandate – POLITICO

Haitian deportees assaulted U.S. pilots, injured three ICE officers

WASHINGTON — Haitians deported from the U.S. on Tuesday assaulted the pilots on board one of the flights when it arrived in Port-au-Prince and injured three U.S. immigration officers, according to a source familiar with internal reports of the incident.

Unrest broke out shortly after a flight carrying single adult men arrived and released the men to Haitian authorities on the airport tarmac. Then, according to the source, several of the men stormed another recently arrived flight carrying families.

The men assaulted the pilots of that plane, who work for a government contractor licensed to fly deportation flights for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while the families were still on board. Three ICE officers were also attacked on that airplane, each suffering non-life-threatening injuries, the source said.

The attacks come as the United States ramps up its deportations of Haitians after more than 15,000 overwhelmed the U.S. border by congregating under one bridge in Del Rio, Texas in just a matter of days. As of Tuesday, just over 1,000 of the Haitian migrants had been deported to Haiti, according to two sources familiar with the operations.

A total of 4,000 have been either deported or moved to other processing centers along the border, the Department of Homeland Security said.

Source: Haitian deportees assaulted U.S. pilots, injured three ICE officers

Capitol Police chief warns of ‘chatter’ about possible violence during far-right rally

WASHINGTON — United States Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Friday that there has been “chatter” about possible violence associated with the rally planned by far-right protesters outside the Capitol building Saturday.

Manger said during a briefing with reporters that Capitol Police leadership has been working over the last eight months to ensure there’s no repeat of the riot that occurred on Jan. 6 when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.

Source: Capitol Police chief warns of ‘chatter’ about possible violence during far-right rally

Winner Takes All: California Recall Explained

For the second time in California history, the state’s governor is facing a recall. On Tuesday, voters will decide whether Gov. Gavin Newsom will stay in office. If a majority votes “yes” to oust him, California will have a new governor.

There are 46 candidates on the ballot, including radio talk show host Larry Elder, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner. The special election was triggered after more than 1.5 million people signed the recall petition, which began circulating last year during the pandemic.

Opponents of Gov. Newsom have criticized his administration’s COVID-19 restrictions and made that a focal point of the recall. If he is recalled, Newsom would be the third governor in U.S. history to be removed from office in this manner.

This has happened before in California. In 2003, voters recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger won the special election and became the 38th governor of California. Schwarzenegger went on to win reelection in 2006, making him the last Republican to win a statewide election.

Californians will vote on two questions: Should Newsom be removed and if so, who should replace him? About 22 million ballots have gone out to registered voters. If a majority votes to remove Newsom, whichever candidate captures the most votes will become the next governor of California.

Trump makes surprise visit to New York police and firefighters on 9/11

Former President Trump made a surprise visit with New York City police and firefighters Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

In remarks to assembled guests, the former president sharply rebuked President Biden and the US pullout from Afghanistan.

“It was gross incompetence and I hate to talk about it on this day,” Trump said.

Trump praised New York’s Finest, telling the crowd, “if they let you do your job you wouldn’t have crime in New York!”

As some in the crowd nodded their heads, The Donald jokingly warned them to “just stand and just be perfect.”

Source: Trump makes surprise visit to New York police and firefighters on 9/11

Biden plan for forced vaccinations doesn’t include illegal immigrants | Fox News

Biden announced a sweeping plan that could force millions of unvaccinated Americans to get the COVID-19 shot

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said of the roughly 80 million Americans who have yet to get the shot. “While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We’re in a tough stretch and it could last for awhile.”

But Biden stopped short of mandating the vaccine for illegal immigrants attempting to cross America’s border, even though about 30% of immigrants held at federal detention facilities are refusing to be vaccinated — and they have the option to refuse

Meanwhile, more than 18% of migrant families who recently crossed the border tested positive for COVID before being released by Border Patrol. Another 20% of unaccompanied minors tested positive for the virus.

Source: Biden plan for forced vaccinations doesn’t include illegal immigrants | Fox News

Biden announces new vaccine mandates that could cover 100 million Americans – CNNPolitics

 

(CNN)President Joe Biden on Thursday imposed stringent new vaccine rules on federal workers, large employers and health care staff in a sweeping attempt to contain the latest surge of Covid-19.

The new requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans — close to two-thirds of the American workforce — and amount to Biden’s strongest push yet to require vaccines for much of the country.
“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said, his tone hardening toward Americans who still refuse to receive a vaccine despite ample evidence of their safety and full approval of one — the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine — from the US Food and Drug Administration.
He said vaccinated America was growing “frustrated” with the 80 million people who have not received shots and are fueling the spread of the virus. And he acknowledged the new steps would not provide a quick fix.
“While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We’re in a tough stretch and it could last for awhile,” Biden said in an early evening speech from the White House.
At the center of Biden’s new plan is directing the Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 or more employees ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week, an expansive step the President took after consultation with administration health officials and lawyers. Companies could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee if they don’t comply.
Biden also signed an executive order requiring all government employees be vaccinated against Covid-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt out. The President signed an accompanying order directing the same standard be applied to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.
He also said 300,000 educators in federal Head Start programs must be vaccinated and called on governors to require vaccinations for schoolteachers and staff.
And Biden announced he would require the 17 million health care workers at facilities receiving funds from Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated, expanding the mandate to hospitals, home care facilities and dialysis centers around the country.
“We have the tools to combat the virus if we come together to use those tools,” Biden said at the outset of what was billed as a major speech to tackle the latest phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new rules amount to the most dramatic steps to date to get more Americans vaccinated. Once cautious of vaccine mandates, the Biden administration is now wholly embracing them as vaccine hesitancy persists among certain groups.
Administration officials acknowledged the requirement for large employers could be challenged in court. But they said their hope was to provide cover of federal rules to businesses who want to require vaccines for employees.
The new rules come as the Delta variant tears through communities across the country, causing upticks in hospitalizations and deaths particularly in areas where vaccination rates remain low.

Source: Biden announces new vaccine mandates that could cover 100 million Americans – CNNPolitics

Biden dismisses protesters who heckled him as he toured storm-damaged northeast: ‘They don’t understand’ | Fox News

President Joe Biden addressed hecklers who shouted at him about his chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming that they don’t actually live in the area he was touring and suggesting that they were upset about his climate change position.

After New York Sen. Chuck Schumer introduced Biden as the man who will “lead us out of darkness in this present moment,” the president began his remarks in New York City by saying he received a warm reception in the area he had been touring.

HURRICANE IDA DEATH TOLL RISES TO AT LEAST 66 NATIONWIDE AS RECOVERY EFFORTS CONTINUE

“None of them were shouting or complaining,” Biden said. “Every one of them were thanking me as if it was something special… that I was here.”

Earlier in the day, Biden was heckled by protesters on the other side of a fence where he toured storm-damaged New Jersey with several people castigating him for his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Source: Biden dismisses protesters who heckled him as he toured storm-damaged northeast: ‘They don’t understand’ | Fox News

Joe Biden’s call to Afghan president is impeachable: Devine

Miranda Devine

BY MIRANDA DEVINE

OPINION

Psst, Nancy Pelosi! Still looking for a phone call worth impeaching a president?

Do I have news for you.

Reuters has a bombshell report about a July phone call between Joe Biden and then-Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, in which the US president promises military aid in return for lies.

The “perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” says Biden in the July 23 call. “And there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”

Whether it is true or not.

No, things weren’t going well, three weeks after the US abandoned Bagram Airfield in the dead of night.

Biden’s solution was to create the “perception” that all was fine. He wanted to keep the illusion going long enough to cover his Aug. 31 self-imposed deadline to withdraw US troops and have a victory lap on September 11th, when he would preen as the first president to end the forever war.

So he asked Ghani to trick up an event to make it look as if he had a plan to push back on the Taliban to reassure America’s allies who were beginning to question Biden’s timetable.

“I don’t know whether you’re aware,” said Biden, “just how much the perception around the world is that this is looking like a losing proposition . . . so the conclusion I’m asking you to consider is to bring together everyone from [ex-Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid] Dostum, to [ex-President Hamid] Karzai and in between. If they stand there and say they back the strategy you put together, and put a warrior in charge, you know a military man . . . in charge of executing that strategy, and that will change perception.”

Ghani tried to explain that the situation was dire: “Mr. President, we are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists.”

He begged for US air support. “What is crucial is, close air support . . . a very heavy reliance on air power.”

The Afghan army was based on the US model, which relies on air support for enemy strikes, ferrying the wounded, and so on. But the contractors who serviced Afghan aircraft had left, leaving the Afghan army exposed.

Biden offered conditional air support, in return for Ghani going along with his ruse, but only until his Aug. 31 deadline. After that, “who knows?”

Source: Joe Biden’s call to Afghan president is impeachable: Devine

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